Pig farmer battles Village Hall

In his bid to block construction of a water tower next to his home, Bob Wargaski on Monday welcomed three pigs to his northwest suburban spread.

"These guys should help me with the 'Big Bad Wolf' at Village Hall," Wargaski joked before moving the 100-plus pound porkers onto his Dowell Road digs in Wauconda Township.

Island Lake officials didn't appreciate Wargaski's humor. They contend the pigs—or more precisely, their waste—could pose a danger to the village's water supply.

"What he's doing is threatening to contaminate the water, and that doesn't fit too well with our plans," Island Lake Mayor Tom Hyde said.

Island Lake officials previously filed a nuisance lawsuit against Wargaski over the pig farm. The court has yet to weigh in on the issue.

State officials, meanwhile, believe Wargaski's pig operation won't fly.

Opening it could violate the conditions of a permit he received last summer to run the containment facility on his 5 acres, Environmental Protection Agency officials said.

The Agriculture Department issued Wargaski the permit with the stipulation that the containment facility would not be allowed to open if it was within 400 feet of a community well like the one Island Lake has been operating for more than a year.

"The statute is very specific [against] having pig poop in there," said Rick Cobb, the deputy division manager of the Division of Public Water Supplies for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Wargaski said it's his right to run the pig farm because it went into operation before the village could build the $5 million water tower outside his home. Village officials admit the tower is still months from going up to service a new subdivision on the edge of town.
from the Trib

Cook County Building briefly evacuated

Authorities temporarily evacuated the 5th floor of the Cook County Building this afternoon.

Employees from the offices of two Cook County commissioners were quarantined after there were reports of some type of threatening letter having been sent to the building, sources said.

The building, at 118 N. Clark St., was secured within 20 minutes.

No further information was immediately available.

from the Trib

Suspect escapes handcuffs, police station

A suspect who was in police custody reportedly picked the lock on his handcuffs and escaped a West Side police station Monday afternoon. He remains at large Tuesday morning.

About 3:45 p.m., a 34-year-old man who was in custody for drug charges was being processed by police in an interview room in the Harrison District police station, on the 3100 block of West Harrison Street, according to police.

Someone else who was in custody described to police that they saw him allegedly pick the lock on his handcuffs and escape. The incident was not captured by a camera.

The unarmed man remains at large as of 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Harrison Area detectives are investigating.
from Sun-Times


Police: Bad economy may breed crime

It's too early to tell if the economy is a major factor in Chicago's rising crime, officials say, but already one police unit is focusing on areas hit hardest by the financial meltdown.

"Abandoned buildings breed crime," police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

Officers in the Troubled Buildings Unit have been identifying abandoned properties, patrolling them to keep gangs, vandals and other criminals out and getting the city involved in dealing with the owners, Bond said.

"All cities will be faced with some crimes of opportunity as a result of a downtrodden economy, and we are addressing them," Bond said, adding that police don't know yet how much of a role the meltdown is playing.

Bank robberies peaked in '06

Citywide, crime was up 3 percent this year through October, compared to the same period of 2007. Murder rose 16 percent, robbery 9 percent, burglary 5 percent and theft 3 percent.

Retailers have reported a jump in shoplifting.

"Purses and laptops are getting stolen, too," said a major retail center's security chief. "People are desperate."

But FBI spokeswoman Cynthia Yates said she didn't see a correlation between bank robberies and the economy. She pointed out that Chicago area bank heists hit a peak in 2006, when the economy was considered healthy. Holdups have risen as bank locations expanded, she said.

In New York, property crime has actually dropped this year. Burglary fell 6 percent and grand larceny 2 percent through Sunday, compared with the same period of 2007.

Murders are up 6 percent.

from Sun-Times

We must abandon all models, and study our possibilities

The anarchist reading & discussion group on the Comiso Dossier is being held this Wednesday, November 19, 7pm, at the Lichen Lending Library: 1921 S. Blue Island. Bring questions, answers and energy.


Police Admit Anarchists Took Control of St. Paul During RNC

ST. PAUL -- Police lost control of the anarchists during the RNC, and for the first time, police are offering a look at what went wrong, and how they may learn from their mistakes.

Police dispatch on the first day of the RNC reveal a communication breakdown for two crucial hours on Sept. 1.

Dispatch tapes show that between noon and 2:00 p.m., downtown belonged to the anarchists.

Tape: "Squads in my group, back off now, they're smashing out every squad car window around here."

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher says of the miscommunication, "We had 15 officers responsible for the conduct of 500 anarchists. They were outnumbered 40 to one."

And those officers, many fighting back without protective gear, had one question: Where was the backup?

The 11 mobile field force units, each with 75 officers in riot gear, were stationed along the parade route, where 10,000 protesters were marching peacefully.

At that time, about 500 anarchists split off in three directions, the town up for grabs. The cops were outmatched until the order was given to pull out.

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington admits to a communication breakdown.

Commanders were watching the parade for trouble, when it was happening everywhere else.

Eventually the mobile field force moved into downtown, arresting 270 protesters the first day of the RNC.

"I think everyone agrees unlawful behavior should have been confronted, but it wasn't for two and half hours," said Fletcher.

Fletcher believes the error was strategic -- not enough plain-clothes cops along the parade route, and not keeping the mobile SWAT units moving.

But Chief Harrington believes they had enough cops from different cities, although maybe not enough time to train together on St. Paul's unique street pattern.

A task force is currently evaluating police actions during the RNC. It's report is due in December.
Story & Video

A fairly thrilling account of events from the other side's perspective, police reports confirm what anarchists had long believed -- the diverse and decentralized organizing spread the police thin throughout downtown St. Paul because they had no idea where the genuine threats would emerge. In this regard, the worry that was aroused at the spokescouncil the night before the 9/1 actions -- that several areas had insufficient numbers or no one whatsoever -- turned out to be a minor inconvenience, if that.

This scenario reminds me of something I was reading this weekend, a zine called something like "Beyond Affinity Groups," by Andrew Flood. The author mentioned that during anti-globalization movement, the affinity group/cluster model meant that the groups issuing statements or calling for actions were diffuse and largely anonymous; their ability to act didn't come from an overt or visible power or base but unseen networks and relationships. It was difficult to tell if a statement was actually made by a group or a lone weirdo in their basement.

For the police, this meant they were never exactly sure who or what to take seriously and it was impossible to predict numbers. Calls for "decentralized autonomous actions" often went unheeded, but occasionally did not. One particular meet-up point might attract only a few dozen folks, while a separate unannounced jump-off point could be swarming with hundreds of anarchists.

The RNC in St. Paul utilized this through the sector map -- dividing the city into loose regions which affinity groups would claim as their region for action. Some groups seem to have stuck closely within their sector while other roamed freely in and out of them as they please. Because no particular actions or levels of intensity were designated beforehand, it was even more difficult to determine where police presence would be needed the most. As it played out, the massive attention on the legal march apparently kept many of the heavily armed tactical units away from downtown. Several blockades attempted on the northwest side of the map -- notably Bash Back -- proved to be not much more than minor inconveniences on their own, but as a part of the larger strategy they kept a large contingent of riot police unavailable and far from more intense action.

The police structure inherently makes this impossible to deal with -- decisions being made at the top take longer to come together, whereas anarchists were able to decide immediately in small groups what to do based on their immediate situation. The picture I'm getting out of St. Paul seems to be that most attempts at solid blockades fell fairly quickly, and by 1:00pm groups began swarming from their own sectors into downtown around Sector 7. They came together and split up as the situation changed.

Man evades police by running through forest

Police have called off a search early Saturday for a man wanted for possession of a controlled substance who fled police and ran into the Schiller Woods Forest Preserve.

Officers from the Albany Park and Jefferson Park police districts attempted to serve a warrant to the man Friday night when the Northwest Side man ran out of his home and into the woods near Cumberland Avenue and Irving Park Road, police said.

As of 1:50 a.m. Albany Park District police have called off the search, and said the man, who was allegedly armed, will be found since police have his name and know where he lives.

Squad cars and helicopters from both districts responded to the scene to search for the man in the woods.

Earlier reports of the man being taken into custody were unfounded.


Chicago man baracks the vote

A Chicago man who persuaded a Minnesota judge to delay his sentencing in a drug case so he could vote in the presidential election didn't show up for his hearing this week.

Javontez L. Ross, 24, whose last known address was an apartment in the 1300 block of Arthington Street, pleaded guilty Sept. 11 to a felony drug charge in the St. Paul area, according to authorities.

But Ross' attorney asked Ramsey County District Judge Margaret Marrinan to delay sentencing so Ross could vote Nov. 4, said Paul Gustafson, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office. The prosecutor did not object, and the judge granted the request.

But when it came time for Ross to be sentenced Wednesday, he was nowhere to be found.

It's unknown whether Ross voted Nov. 4, but there's no record of him voting in Cook County since at least 2005, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. Records list him as an inactive voter, meaning mail sent to his address has been returned.

"We don't know where the heck he is," said Gustafson.

Maybe he's trying to keep his schedule clear for jury duty.
from the Trib


Four banks nailed in Chicago area

Police are searching for robbers who hit four banks across the Chicago area today.

The first heist occurred around 9:15 a.m. at a North Communty Bank at 4701 N. Clark St. in the Uptown neighborhood, police said.

The robber, described as a white man in his late 20s, standing about 6 foot 2 to 6 foot 4 inches tall, walked into the bank and handed a note to a teller demanding money. After getting cash, the man fled. He was further described as wearing a dark knit cap, wire-rimmed glasses, a dark brown hooded coat and blue jeans.

More than three hours later, a man described as in his 30s, walked into a Fifth Third Bank branch at 145 W. North Ave. and slid a note to a teller and ran off with an unknown amount of money. Police do not believe the robberies were committed by the same man.

Shortly before 5 p.m., the Hoffman Estates Community Bank, 2497 W. Golf Rd., was robbed by an armed man wearing a ski mask.

The man, who was captured on security footage, was about 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build and thought to be in his 20s. He was wearing a red ski-style jacket with a label for Marlboro brand cigarettes on it, according to police.

The third robbery occurred at Archer Bank, 3259 W. 95th St., in Evergreen Park this afternoon.

Evergreen Park police declined comment about the situation, referring calls to supervisors who would not be available until Thursday.

The FBI, which has jurisdiction over bank robbery investigations, could not be reached for comment tonight. It was not immediately known if any of the robberies were related.
from the Trib

CTA board poised to raise fares today

The CTA board today is expected to increase transit fares, some by as much as 50 cents to $2.25 a ride.

The hikes would take effect in January.

The agency also earlier announced plans to eliminate the bonus for Chicago Card users and increase the price of a 30-day pass to $90 from $75.

Some of the increases: Transit card ride to $2.00 from $1.75; rail transit card rise to $2.25 from $2; rail Chicago Card to $2.25 from $1.75; bus Chicago Card to $2 from $1.75; one-day pass to $6 from $5; three-day pass to $15 from $12; and a seven-day pass to $24 from $20.

The agency blames higher costs and Gov. Rod Blagojevich's decision in January to extend free rides to seniors.

On Wednesday, Pace, the suburban bus transit agency, raised fares by a quarter to $1.75, effective Jan. 1. The Pace board also approved a new Pace/CTA seven-day pass that will cost $29.

After Dec. 31, Pace will no longer accept the CTA seven-day pass.

from the Trib


Cabbies vow strike as fares set to drop

Chicago taxicab fares are about to drop for the second time in two weeks. But passengers may soon have a more difficult time finding a cab.

The two-tiered surcharge imposed last spring to provide relief to cabbies squeezed by skyrocketing gasoline prices will be lifted entirely at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The Seattle-style surcharge requires passengers to pay an extra 50 cents a ride whenever gas prices "equal or exceed" $2.70 a gallon for seven consecutive days and up to $1 whenever the price tops $3.20 a gallon for one week straight.

The $1 surcharge was cut in half Halloween morning. At 12:01 a.m. Friday, the 50- cent surcharge will be lifted.

Last month, the United Taxidrivers Community Council gave Mayor Daley an ultimatum: Support a 16 percent fare increase that takes effect Jan. 1 or risk a strike that could "paralyze" the city.

City Hall responded by saying a permanent fare hike was in the works for next spring, but no sooner.

On Monday, chairman Fayez Khozindar said his group was forging ahead with the strike and would hold a press conference Nov. 25 to announce a specific date.

"It will be painful for the city. . . . It will be 80 percent effective, I hope," Khozindar said.

Consumer Services Commissioner Norma Reyes said the United Taxidrivers Community Council "does not speak for a majority" of cabbies. And she argued that the group was playing with fire by promoting a strike.

from Sun-Times


Anarchist Reading and Discussion Workshop

Discussion around the Comiso Dossier (from Insurrection magazine). I'm not the host but volunteered to be a contact.

Pick up print copies of the Comiso Dossier at anti-Olympics meetings and at the Lichen Lending Library (1921 S. Blue Island). Or write to this address [xxx], and we can get you a copy. Articles for discussion will be highlighted or marked.

The actual discussion will happen sometime around November 19. Be in touch to get the time and location.

We're reading this because we think it presents some vital ideas for anarchist organizing here, especially in the wider community and with opposition to the Olympics, though we're certainly not proposing a fixed model. Here's a description of what the Dossier covers:

In the early 1980s, Italy was in the grip of repression and state-sponsored terror, as the forces of order worked to violently dismantle the massive and inspiring social movements of the previous decades. While many revolutionaries were hopelessly demoralized and disoriented, others pushed ahead without pause.

In Sicily, some of these anarchist comrades moved to oppose the installation of American cruise missiles in the rural community of Comiso. Refusing to play the game of negotiation or compromise, they worked directly with other local people to organize rebellion against the construction of the base. The form of struggle was the self-managed league- autonomous groups that brought together anarchists with the wider population, while excluding all the parasites of the Left.

These experiences are not so far removed as we might sometimes think. They reflect is an entirely different model of anarchist organizing, one constructed against overwhelming odds, but which contain many lessons for us. While we have frustratingly little access to these experiences, the Comiso Dossier is an important and inspiring collection of historical and theoretical documents. Our reading group will cover the basic history, but we want to move on to practically discuss anarchist strategy today in light of past transformative moments.


Bloomingdale bank robber makes getaway

Bloomingdale police and the FBI were searching today for a bank robber who escaped on foot from a First American Bank with a bag filled with money, authorities said.

The robbery occurred at about 10:10 a.m. Thursday in the western suburb when a man entered the bank at 80 Stratford Drive, displayed a handgun, and demanded that the teller fill a bag with money, according to a press release from police.

The suspect is described as white, about 5-foot 8-inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black ski mask, a red T-shirt and jeans. He left southbound on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anyone with information is asked to [keep it to themselves]

from the Trib


Milwaukee Network for Social War Communique #1

Something I found posted on Milwaukee Indymedia. It's interesting to see the proliferation of the use of the term "social war" and the spread of insurrectionalist tendencies -- Santa Cruz, Olympia/Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and now Milwaukee are becoming notable hot-spots of, at least, insurrectionalist chatter. The contemporary expression of insurrectionalism deserves a look here at some point.
This is critique as attack from those who attack as critique. It is an attempt to make apparent what is evident to us: a separation between the ideology and practice of activism and those who seek a complete destruction of this world (domination in its totality) in search of the unknown world of possibilities that lie only in its ruin. Recent conversations have shown it to become more and more necessary to articulate this divide most importantly for ourselves and others still open to possibilities.

As capital has accumulated and thus reproduced the world, so have good intentions.

The ever constant activity of the activist in their efforts to petition this, reform that, vote, educate the masses, and always with the guidance of them and others as experts, perpetuate the logic of alienation. Theirs is a relationship managed and on the terms of the state, whose goal is always the maintenance of dominance by whatever means. And while they may have good intentions in their reactions to an always expanding set of outrageous issues, the many contradictions within capitalist social relations, they merely assimilate themselves into the disease from which no cure can be found within. To the extent that they adopt and perpetuate this ideology, they spread disease.

This disease is the same disease we've been building for thousands of years, dead yet alive in its spread of social decomposition and society as prison. It is the corpse of our social relations, conditioning the reproduction of the expert, hierarchy, and class division. This corpse in the mouth of the activist vomits out not only how life should be lived, but also how it should change, effectively changing nothing.

Always there is that feeling of unreality, estrangement, otherness, that stinking fucking smell underneath the stairs of our everyday lives.

To the pathetic calls for unity, mediation, compromise, restraint in our discourse with our conditions, our reply is "we'd rather not."

Our conditions are a social war.

Our social war is discourse.

Only one direction -- Obama insurrection

Not everyone behaved themselves when celebrating U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s historic win Tuesday night.

Some fired gunshots, a felon accused cops of arresting him “because a black man won for president” and a teenager standing with throngs of passionate revelers used the opportunity to slap a police officer, Cook County prosecutors said.

“White bitches. Fuck McCain. You white police can’t do nothing,” 19-year-old Celita Hart taunted officers as she stood with a throng of Obama supporters in the 6900 block of South Western Avenue, Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said in a court Wednesday. At some point, authorities said, Hart left the crowd, which had been chanting “Obama, Obama,” walked up to a squad car, and smacked a male officer in the face.

from Sun-Times

Man robs bank on Northwest Side

Police are looking for the man who robbed a Northwest Side bank Tuesday afternoon.

About 1 p.m. Tuesday, a black male, believed to be in his mid-20s, entered a Charter One Bank branch in the 2800 block of North Narragansett Avenue, according to police News Affairs.

The man demanded money from a bank teller, who complied, police said. The man then fled with an unknown amount of money.

Chicago Police and the FBI are probing the robbery.

from Sun-Times


Eviction resistance in Boston

Although the intention of the postings on this blog will be focused on Chicago experiences, it is essential to learn from the experiences of others elsewhere dealing with the same problems. In this article from Boston, for instance, we find that chaining a few folks to a building on eviction day does not itself prevent eviction or seriously hamper their effort to evict.

However, it would of course be unfair to assume this is the entire strategy. In fact, CL/VU can at least claim success in contributing to the momentum of preventing one eviction last April as they had threatened at the beginning of the year to physically block evictions whenever possible. The trick, of course, seems to be in encouraging enough eviction resistance so that the one hour hold up at a single site accumulates into an unmanageable waste of police resources across the city.

The results appear to be a matter of circumstances -- on the one hand, the resident in eviction that went ahead was apparently the owner of the condo and was indebted directly to the bank. In the case of the halted eviction, it was a matter of the scummy landlord giving the renters the claim of being good tenants. It's exciting the CL/VU went ahead and took on both, although the legal claims of one were more dubious. This points to an attempt to deconstruct the logic of the social order that only "good" residents deserve to stay in their homes.

About 50 people, activists from the Jamaica Plain based organization City Life/Vida Urbana, and their supporters, gathered in front of 76 Perrin Street in Roxbury today, to try and block police from evicting one of the building's residents, Paula Taylor, 43.

Six people chained themselves to the front and back entrances of the building. After a standoff that lasted more than an hour, Boston police from the area B-2 precinct and officers with Boston Special Operations, finally cut the protester's chains and arrested four of the six activists. Shortly thereafter, workers with a moving and storage company began removing Ms. Taylor's belongings and placing them in a truck. She told reporters she was not sure where she would go.

Attorneys with the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild observed the eviction and arrests. Students and staff from Harvard Law School also were in attendance and several spoke with reporters.

Ms. Taylor's condo was foreclosed upon earlier this year. The mortgage is owned by Bank of America. She said she offered to pay rent to the bank and move out once a qualified buyer for her condo could be found, but she and spokespersons for City Life/Vida Urbana said the bank rejected that offer. The fight for tenants' rights is far from over. City Life and other organizations are stepping up to stop the banks from taking people's homes.